The Final Gambit: A mastermind of mysteries

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Raeesah Alam

The final touch to Jennifer Lynn’s Inheritance Games series was released on August 30, 2022.

Raeesah Alam, Staff Writer

*This review may contain spoilers from the previous books of The Inheritance Games series*

Almost every reader loves a good mystery, but what better a mystery than an unpredictable and dangerous game? Jennifer Lynn Barnes, bestselling author of The Inheritance Games, concludes her thrilling series with a last, though not so final, gamble. Releasing The Final Gambit on August 30, 2022, a little less than a year after her second book, Barnes ignites a rush of excitement in her fans, selling over 750,000 copies of her book in only a few weeks. 

Avery Kylie Grambs has finally turned 18 and is ready to inherit the Hawthorne riches after being thrown into a life of fame. At 16 years old, her life had gone from sleeping in a car to becoming the wealthiest young woman in the world. However, the change wasn’t easy, especially when she no longer had a connection to the old billionaire Tobias Hawthorne I, who had disinherited his entire family leaving his fortunes in Avery’s hands. Why? Because she was his very risky gamble of course. Tobias Hawthorne, a once cunning and powerful man who held the world at his hands, bestowed his inheritance to a girl he had only met once when she was merely 6 years old, rather than fulfilling his promises to his own family. She was the risk he took to mend his mistakes, even if it meant throwing her into a pit filled with wolves. 

While the first two books were loose in their mystery and plot, focusing more on relationships and bonds between the characters, The Final Gambit takes a twist in the original story structure. The enticing book unfolds a greater scheme, piecing together the overlooked details in the previous books to create a mind-blowing puzzle for Avery, the handsome Hawthorne brothers, and the readers themselves. Barnes does not fail to leave her readers astonished with her twists and turns, painting an entirely new picture for the series as a whole. 

As new characters come into play, certain familiar characters whom readers thought had served their purposes previously also resurface as pawns in the mystery. The book revolves around Tobias Hawthorne’s many mistakes, uncovering fervent –and at times distressing– secrets that now plague Avery’s legacy. The old man had loved his games, had drilled them into his grandsons’ minds, and now has made one out of the young girl’s life. 

However, when comparing The Final Gambit to its preceding books, there are many clear differences. Though the first book lacked the same thrill of mystery as depicted in this one, the heat-filled romance and sensational banter that was crafted feels as if it has been lost. The once original love triangle between the two middle Hawthorne boys that had left the readers breathlessly conflicted and confused–whether Team Grayson or Team Jameson– has now riveted on only one conspicuous love interest. The exhilaration and tension between Avery, Jameson, and Grayson has faded into a mere side plot, when it was so much more before. In fact, it hardly ever feels as if Grayson is in the picture anymore. The chemistry and electrification between Jameson and Avery or Grayson and Avery has now drizzled down to small sentence-second encounters. Any possible opportunities that could lead into something more turn out to be disappointing and neglected. 

Moreover, the characters simply don’t feel the same as they used to, including the once lively and exuberant Xander and the cheeky, flirtatious Jameson. Clearly, Tobias Hawthorne’s games have taken its toll on them all and have ultimately broken the family he tried so hard to sculpt. 

Nevertheless, the compelling book has encaptured many readers, making it difficult to put down. Barnes’s mastermind of mysteries spins together a galvanizing world filled with possibilities, where anyone can become anything. Avery Kylie Grambs went from a simple teenage girl to one of the most influential women, ready to become the creator rather than a player or pawn in the games.